'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28. 19-20)
We baptise in obedience to these final instructions of Jesus to his disciples shortly before he was taken up to heaven. Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God and which continues for the rest of our lives. It is a wonderful occasion for candidates, parents and godparents to rejoice in what God has done for us in Christ, as they make serious promises and declare their faith. They also thank God for his gift of life as they make a decision to start on the journey of faith as well as ask for the Church's support.
All young people and adults who can speak for themselves are invited to make serious promises about their faith in Jesus Christ before the congregation and God.
It is however different with infants who cannot speak for themselves. When we baptise infants, parents and godparents make promises on their behalf. One of the promises is that they will draw the infant being baptised into the community of faith by their example and walk with them in the way of Christ. They then have to promise to help the infant take their place within the life and worship of Christ's church. They also need to declare that they have themselves turned to Christ. We believe that the efficacy of infant baptism is realised when parents sincerely commit to these promises.
Not all parents are able to make these promises. Some have therefore found a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child service more beneficial. This service, which can serve as a preliminary to baptism, allows an opportunity for the family to express their thanks to God for the gift of a child. The Church of England provide useful resources.
We welcome all who live in our parish to approach us to explore either baptism or thanksgiving for their children. We ask enquirers to attend one of our services and then speak with our baptism co-ordinator to discuss the next steps.
Confirmation is a service in which those baptised as children make a public declaration of their faith when older (normally 11 or older). The service is conducted by a Bishop and will "confirm" candidates by laying on of hands and praying.
If you would like to explore confirmation, please contact in the first instance our Children and Families Minister on firstname.lastname@example.org.